Friday, November 01, 2013

Who dares spins

First chuck on the drain and I nail this pretty little jack on a Big Hammer shad. Two casts later, I hit one a pound or so bigger.

I'd left it until late afternoon, remembering how the place came alive as the autumn sun sank below the floodbank a couple of seasons back. For the last hour or two, it came alive as rudd went mad for a fly hatch.

I see a load of same come flying out of the water in the next swim, followed by a swirly bow-wave. I hoofed it down there, four or five casts and Mr Hammer hits the nail on the head again. Another jack of around three or four pounds.

Never mind, at least I'm catching. If you like catching jacks, like Ash reckons he does, you'd give your right arm for my start to the season, as in I seem to catch three or four most times I go at the moment.

I 've not been keeping count but know I've probably already had more fish than I had all last winter. One double so far and most of the pike I've caught have been under 5lbs. But fishing's fun again, so who cares.

The fun continues with a jack that somehow squirms off the end as I go to chin it. Then the gloves come off when what's obviously a big pike, as in a proper old lump, makes the drain erupt as a huge shoal of silvers flee in all directions in the first swim I tried.

Up the bank, down the bank, a few more casts and another jack. Huh..? The big fish shows again a couple of swims further down, so it's up the bank and down the bank again. The rod hammers round, big fish, big fish - no. It's another jack. I can't get the hook out of it fast enough.

I keep thrashing the spot where it showed and bump off another jack. Then the surface erupts just out of casting range, the other side of an inaccessible 20yds of bank. Geese are squealing over the far bank, as they loft off the beet tops and form up for the return flight to Mussel Bay.

Teal are flying in, the light's going and I decide to come back and have another bash tomorrow. I have a vague, nagging feeling I ought to go back with the bait rods. Pop some big deads up bang in the middle of where the tiddlers are shoaled.

I go for the lures again, but this time the drain's almost lifeless until last knockings, when a few jacks start giving the rudd what for. Big shad, bright yellow, cast around where the big fish showed yesterday.

Come on baby, where are you..? The geese take wing again, great skeins of greylags arrow overhead whaunk, whaunk, whaunk. I fumble closing the bail arm, get a turn of line around my fingers and the lure's sunk in the weed by the time I sort it out.

I bring it back fast across the top to clear the mush off the hook and I see it in slow-mo as I'm about to swing the mucky mess that's covered the hooks to hand. A huge head and shoulders of a pike appear, it lunges and misses, turning away from the bank at the last moment and disappearing into the gloom with a flick of its great big tail.

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